The Detroit Tigers have given fans plenty of things to be thankful for in the past decade. After a two year playoff drought, what should fans be expecting at this point in the 2017 season?
Detroit Tigers players sit in fourth place in the AL Central with a 23-26 record after 49 games in the 2017 season, definitely not where most optimistic fans thought the team would be located at this point in the season.
As fans, we are left with two options: hope Detroit can make a late push and sneak into the playoffs, or assume the worst and prep for a busy offseason.
The Minnesota Twins sit atop the AL Central standings at the moment.
Following the Twins in order is the Indians and then White Sox. I’m well aware there are still 114 games left to play there is room for a late season push or second half push.
After all, let’s not forget when the Brewers lead the NL Central at the All-Star break in 2014 and ended up 82-80 in third place.
At this point in the season, where does the Tigers stack up and do the numbers provide room for hope or eventual let down?
Per ESPN, Detroit’s offense ranks 17th in runs, 24th in hits, 16th in home runs, 13th in RBIs, 19th in batting average and 15th in on base percentage.
None of those statistics leave me walking away from the computer thinking the Tigers are poised for a playoff spot.
It will come down to the pitching, both starters and the bullpen, to determine how the team ends up.
On the mound
The Tigers is 18th in wins (according to ESPN), 13th in losses, 25th in ERA (low to high), 14th in saves and 25th in batting average.
Once again, not staggering numbers. By logic, with those numbers Detroit would indubitably miss the playoffs, considering only 10 teams see past game 162, sometimes game 163, if you want to get technical.
Looking at Detroit’s roster it’s easy to picture the orange and blue playing in October.
I’m not going to get into a speculative article attempting to break down why this roster can’t win.
There could be a plethora of reasons behind the losing record. Sometimes players don’t produce, maybe some of them are in a slump or down year.
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I’m not going to pretend I know what contributes to Zimmermann’s high ERA and spotty record.
As mentioned earlier, the Tigers missed the playoffs in 2016 and 2015.
Back-to-back misses of the postseason had not happened to Detroit since 2009 and 2010. However, both of those seasons were winning seasons.
Let’s say the Tigers miss the playoffs and finish with a losing record this season. That would be back to back losing season, no postseason finish.
A combination of that caliber has not occurred since 2004 and 2005, when Detroit finished 72-90 (2004) and 71-91 (2005). The following year? World Series.
The scariest part about the potential this season has is not missing the playoffs, though. It is seeing some of our beloved team members in different uniforms come 2018.
For now, we cheer, we hold out hope and we wait, patiently.